Wednesday, August 20, 2008

Foochow Herbs

This is called "Ngu Kerk Pi" or Bull's Horns as the leaves look are bull's horns. These are good for over heatiness and related ailments. Normally a few plants would be pulled up from the grown and washed thoroughly for making soup with some chicken pieces. Back aches can also be cured if the pain arises from weakness of the kidneys. We heard whispers that it is good for those with infertility problems too. But we never had the opportunity to try it on any one who had fertility problem.

Called "Ngia" in Foochow this herb is commonly found in the backyard of Foochows. It is usually brewed with chicken soup. Good for general health especially for keeping the lungs healthy. When we were kids we had a lot of the soup to prevent coughs. And all our relatives' backyard gardens had them.


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(This photo shows Kie Rek Chou - good for kidney ailments - just boil a lot of this herbs with chicken. It is used as an antidote for skin eruptions. We Foochows believe that this "weed" is good for removing toxins or "poisons" from our bodies. so young children suffering from boils and other skin problems were forced to drink the soup.)

Have you realised that Foochow grandmothers and aunties are often very well versed in the boiling of herbs for almost every ailment that you can think of?

When I was young I was exposed to very special herbs which helped to lower our body heatiness. I was really keen then to learn all about them. My aunts especially were very helpful in helping me become knowledgeable.

When we were living at Kung Ping Road ,now called Brooke Drive,my family was often intrigued by the black grass jelly which we now can buy easily in any hawker's stall throughout Malaysia. The black grass jelly actually came from a grass that my neighbour grew and we had plenty of free black grass jelly from her. We had to boil a lot of the herb or "grass" to get a small amount of the grass jelly. Today it is considered a delicacy. It is also available in tins so our life style is made more simple.

I used to have some soup to get rid of wind in the stomach very frequently from my elderly aunt sometime ago. And she continues to boil it for other family members as she has this special peppermint plant. She also grows a lot of basil or " 9 storeyed pagoda" which helps to cure stomach upsets and generally cleanses our system.

This plant in the photo is growing outside her little verandah. It is good for body temperature and it can balance the yin and yang elements of our entire body.

Another plant which I remember with fondness is the Chinese liquorice which is good for making soup. If we have a lot of nightmares and if we sweat a lot because our liver is over heated this plant is good for us. It is called Kan Chou or liver plant. It has yellow flowers and its leaves are like the leaves of changkok manis. The leaves can be stir fried too.

In retrospect we actually grew up with a lot of herbal knowledge which is very precious to the modern world. We should be grateful that our elders have passed to us this knowledge. Even if we don't practise the usage of herbs in our daily lives at least we should remember with gratitude that many of our ailments were cured by these simple herbs which can be found every where.

We must never forget that there are many cures for simple ailments in our backyard.

(All the information provided above is classified as old wives' tales. If you do not believe in the properties of these so called weeds, it is ok.)

1 memories:

Pianissimo said...

Finally found someone talks about this wonderful herb 'Ngia'! Do you happen to know what does it formally call or name in English? Would love to find it here in Melbourne, if possible.


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